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Perhaps you’ve seen her, bright plumage, darting from flower to flower, almost a hummingbird, or maybe somekind of odd magpie picking up shiny bits from the streets. But have you ever seen her nest, hidden among the brambles?

She’s actually a shy bird, though that may not be your first guess.

Welcome, to my world.

Most people would slot me in the category of that hummingbird – I love to dress in eye catching ways (you might know that if you read this blog), have lots of activities in my life, and friends, and like to feel in the mix of things. Yet if you categorized me as an extravert, or someone who felt she had a lot of personal influence, well, that’s not how I see myself. Or experience myself.

I think I’m an introvert in extravert’s camouflage. I love people, love to be around them but, and here’s the big however — I draw my energy from being alone. Too much people/activity time and I get exhausted (no really), like a hummer who hasn’t had enough to eat or is out in a cold night.

A hummingbird drops into torpor when it meets these circumstances and may even appear dead. Certainly is easily hurt. When I surround myself with too much activity (which is much of the time between work and fun), I drop into a kind of torpor. I want to hole up with writing or with a book, I don’t call people up (although I might like to see them), I get occupied in a much internalized way. I might even appear disconnected (or “dead”) to the outside world.

This torpor can be very easily misconstrued as a lack of interest and caring. When really, it is a hummingbird resting up so she can begin again to visit those nectar sweet moments of life and friends.


False Plumage
You call me
Wonder why I don’t answer
Wonder why you seem to be
Chasing some imaginary friend.

I am sorry for that,
Before we even begin.

I’ve been invisible most of my life
Pretending to be someone else.

I was a girl of make-believe —
My companions in books
Kept me good company.
Meg. And Anne and Jo and
Those kids from the Moffats
And Laura, and Strawberry gal.
Betsy, Tacy and Tib.

Who lived in the tiniest of spaces
Disappearing at will.
I did not disappoint
and they in their turn
kept their place in my heart
in my books, in my small private plot.

And I wanted to nest where
No one else did. I could climb
A tree with my book in hand.
there, was a home
On a limb, alone.

Where my real friends could come
If they wanted me.

I know that it makes little
Grown up sense now, for to look at me
You would think the reverse going on.
Seeming never alone,
Nothing cautious or wary.
No diffident loner, not her!

that I would
Be shy, build a fence, shut a door
Between me and the world.
makes less sense than another
fairy tale you might tell.

But the truth is I stand
with a book in my hand
between me and the world
between me and that girl.

Pretending to be someone else.

A perspective on introverts: So I am abundantly grateful to the ones who don’t let me overindulge my introversion, who aren’t put off by it, and who extend invitations. I am equally grateful to far-flung friends who allow me to be squirrely about the phone, who are fine with scheduling catch-up calls, and who make sure we stay in contact, whatever it takes.